There is a simple tool we use in leadership coaching to help leaders define their personal focus. It is a series of these three questions:
1. What do you believe to be the world’s greatest need?
2. What do others say is the “one thing” for you?
3. If you had unlimited time or money, what would you do?
Wrestling with these questions often has a profound effect on the way a person views themself and their place in not only the workplace but the world as a whole.
More recently, we have found it beneficial to expand these questions to teams. We ask small groups of leaders who are on a team together to wrestle with these questions as a whole:
1. What do we believe to be the world’s greatest need?
2. What would others say is the “one thing” we are about as a team (or organization)?
3. If resources were no object, what would we accomplish together?
The answers themselves are important and can provide real direction for teams looking to focus and prioritize. But their ultimate value may lie in the fact that they speak to a certain kind of culture you are trying to craft – a culture which is committed to congruence around values, priorities, and shared passion. Thriving organizational cultures have this kind of congruence, but it doesn’t come automatically.
Sometimes asking the right questions is the way to start crafting that kind of powerful, focused culture.